Watch: Tamara Taylor talks 'Bones' and 'Invasion of the Mother Suckers'

Watch: Tamara Taylor talks 'Bones' and 'Invasion of the Mother Suckers'

What's in store for Cam as 'Bones' begins Season 8
Interviews are all about priorities. You have to know what you want to discuss and if you have limited time, you can't dilly-dally in getting there.
 
And that's why my very first question for "Bones" co-star Tamara Taylor wasn't about any of the pivotal things that happened to Cam Saroyan in last season's finale -- no less an expert than Patricia Belcher's Caroline Julian called Cam the hero of the finale -- or any key developments going forward.
 
Nope. I wanted to talk about "Invasion of the Mother Suckers," the blaxploitation homage B-movie that surfaced last season and featured Cam in her pre-Jeffersonian days. 
 
So yes, this interview touches on Season 8, which premieres on Monday (September 17) night. Taylor and I discussed her appreciation of more serialized storytelling and how that ties into the Pelant arc. We also talked about why it was nice to see Cam respected for what she did in the finale. 
 
But mostly? 
 
"Invasion of the Mother Suckers."
Watch: 'The Mob Doctor' star Jordana Spiro discusses going dark places for FOX

Watch: 'The Mob Doctor' star Jordana Spiro discusses going dark places for FOX

What made the 'My Boys' star gravitate towards drama this year?
You can't pigeon-hole Jordana Spiro.
 
Between her tomboy sportswriter on TBS' "My Boys," her scene-stealing airhead in "Must Love Dogs," her Doomsday-loving cult groupie on "Dexter" and her gangster-treating MD on FOX's "The Mob Doctor," the only commonality is the actress playing the parts.
 
Last week, I sat down with Spiro to discuss "Mob Doctor" and Grace Devlin, who is self-explanatorily balancing her obligations as a doctor and her debt to the mob. We chatted about why she targeted a drama pilot this development season, how morally and ethnically compromised Spiro wants to see Grace become and, because I was distracted by the prayer-tinged poster behind her, the show's particular approach to faith.
 
"The Mob Doctor" premieres on Monday, September 17 at 9 p.m. on FOX.
<p>&nbsp;Your new &quot;American Idol&quot; judging panel. And Ryan.</p>

 Your new "American Idol" judging panel. And Ryan.

Credit: FOX

What do the new judges mean for 'American Idol'?

Will Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Mariah Carey bring more than starpower?
I've been regularly covering "American Idol" since the very beginning of its second season and, on Sunday morning I woke up to a whole new show. 
 
With nary a warning to West Coast reporters who might have wanted to cover a fairly large -- by network TV standards -- story, FOX officially revealed at 7:18 a.m. Pacific Time that Randy Jackson will be joined on the "American Idol" judging panel next spring by Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Mariah Carey. 
 
When it comes to the most popular show on television, FOX has an erratic track record for secret-keeping. While Steven Tyler's exit this summer was an effectively detonated surprise, Jennifer Lopez scooped the network on her exit with a radio interview, just as Paula Abdul's tweets caught the network flatfooted several years back. This was the judging panel we all knew was coming, whether or not we woke up early on a Sunday to report it or not. Carey had already been formally announced back in July, Minaj and Urban had been rumored for weeks and Randy is Randy, so this was more of a confirmation than a grand announcement. 
 
That means that the only thing to analyze about the "American Idol" judges is what mindset this quartet reflects for FOX and its most important property going into Season 12. To my mind, it becomes a coin-flip between "insecurity" and "desperation."
 
I get the idea that FOX and "Idol" might be insecure, but I wonder if they've jumped the gun on "desperation" and let the marketplace dictate creative changes that toss out the basic ethos of the show.
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<p>This is the only image The CW has made available from &quot;Cult&quot;</p>

This is the only image The CW has made available from "Cult"

Credit: The CW

Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Cult'

Alternate universe tale of a hit CW show is awful, but kinda watchable

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"Cult" (The CW) [Midseason]
The Pitch: "What if the people who watched "Lost" (or "Jericho" or "Fringe" or "Community") weren't just obsessed with their favorite shows? What if they were dangerously obsessed?" or "It's 'Twin Peaks' meets 'The L.A. Complex' only BAD."
Quick Response: Of the "three or four audaciously weird, wacky and possibly terrible (but possibly terribly addictive) new dramas" I've mentioned are premiering at midseason, "Cult" is perhaps the king, only I'm already prepared to remove the "possibly" caveat in front of "terrible." I'm fairly sure that "Cult" is terrible, but it's also almost certainly going to be the kind of show that I won't be able to turn off out of fear that I'm going to miss the next bonkers, disconnected-from-reality plot twist or character development. Right from the top, you have to take "Cult" with a grain of salt, because it's about the fanatical fans of a wildly popular CW show. So you know that Rockne O'Bannon's script is taking place in an alternate reality. And the pilot's take on the television business and Internet fandom and Los Angeles is similarly disconnected from logic and the actual living, breathing world around us. Every second is goofy and yet director Jason Ensler has decided that everything should be played with a straight-forward earnestness that wouldn't have been my personal storytelling instinct at all. Hand this exact script to somebody wanting to channel their inner David Lynch and this could be almost "Mulholland Drive"-esque. In that context, the wooden lead performances by Matt Davis and Jessica Lucas would just be elements of the surrealism. But this isn't "Twin Peaks" and Davis and Lucas are simply having a really hard time convincingly delivering the lines in the twisty script, which becomes almost unexpurgated mythology-blather and TV meta-commentary at a certain point. I feel especially bad for Davis, who had the role of his career on "Vampire Diaries" and now is forced to retreat back into Soap Opera Leading Man blandness. If the "Cult" producers are smart, they'll let Davis' character go down a conspiratorial rabbit hole and go increasingly insane. That's where Mr. Ernesto Riley would shine. The most intriguing element of "Cult" is the show-within-a-show in which Robert Knepper plays a deranged cult leader. Nobody will be surprised to learn that Robert Knepper is a lot of fun as a deranged cult leader. Knepper was on "Prison Break" and later seasons of "Heroes," so if anybody knows how to take painful dialogue and sell it, it's him. Also maintaining some dignity is Tom Amandes, also good enough that his presence grounds the ludicrousness around him. But yeah, "Cult" makes "Do No Harm" and "The Zero Hour" feel like they take place in a recognizable universe. Well hey. These things just snap. Right off.
Desire To Watch Again: I watched a whole season of "Ringer" and I'll probably do the same with "Cult." And I think "Cult" has the potential to maybe be the kind of guilty pleasure that "Ringer" never became. So while I'm not "looking forward" to watching more of "Cult," I just know with certainty that I will. And hey... It's better than "Beauty and the Beast." A lot better. That's not saying anything.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Next Caller'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Following'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Family Tools'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Infamous'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'How To Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's '1600 Penn'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Zero Hour'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Do No Harm'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'The Carrie Diaries'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Malibu Country'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'The New Normal'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Guys with Kids'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Mindy Project'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Partners'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Nashville'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Made in Jersey'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Emily Owens, M.D.'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Mob Doctor'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Animal Practice'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Last Resort'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Vegas'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty & The Beast'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

 

 

<p>&quot;Next Caller&quot;</p>

"Next Caller"

Credit: NBC

Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Next Caller'

Dane Cook sitcom may not be quite as bad as you fear. Maybe.

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"Next Caller" (NBC) [Midseason]
The Pitch: "The kids today love Dane Cook and absolutely nobody finds him completely and totally intolerable!"
Quick Response: Imagine being warned that a medical procedure would leave you feeling like you'd been hit in the crotch with a giant steel-driving hammer 75 times and then waking up and only feeling like you'd been hit in the crotch 25 times by a padded Whack-a-Mole mallet. Your first reaction would be, "OH MY GOD, MY GROIN!" Your second reaction would be, "But I guess it wasn't quite as bad as I feared." Ladies and gentlemen, that's my rave review for "Next Caller." NBC is completely welcome to the blurb, "Less excruciatingly painful than you might otherwise have anticipated." Use it in health, NBC! "Next Caller" is misogynistic, homophobic and occasionally terrible, but it's more consistently forgettable than consistently terrible. Once again, that counts as a win for this NPR-flavored rom-com (short on both the "rom" and the "com"). Dane Cook is capable of being less-than-distracting. Remember that Kevin Costner serial killer movie? Dane Cook wasn't bad in that at all. But what he's doing here is playing a character who could have been played by every single obnoxious standup comic of the past 25 years. It's a breeze to imagine this being developed as an Andrew Dice Clay vehicle. I can imagine this being repurposed for Carlos Mencia. So Cook relies heavily on his Dane Cook schtick for at least half of the pilot, before turning on some entirely unearned "I have a heart, too" sincerity. And why is he such a boor? Because some woman broke his heart. Somehow, this is supposed to make us sympathetic towards him. It doesn't work. Because Cook is playing his character so broadly, the mostly lovable Collette Wolfe -- so good in "Young Adult," "Cougar Town" and a slew of supporting roles -- also has to play her character dialed up to 12, getting one or two chuckles in the process. The thing is, that there's a completely reasonable show that could be made about a pair of mismatched radio call-in hosts who are completely recognizable as human beings and not just the embodiments of retro Mars/Venus gender stereotypes. And I'd endeavor to say that that show could still star Dane Cook and Collette Wolfe, though I'd still lobby for a different male lead. And maybe it would actually work. With Jeffrey Tambor and Joy Osmanski, "Next Caller" even has the necessary backbone to become a "WKRP"/"NewsRadio"-style workplace ensemble. The problem is that you can't have one-dimensional main characters and then also have cartoonish supporting characters behind them. Something needs to ground the show. If Cook and Wolfe were playing real people, the randy nun saying stuff like "You hit that yet, or what?" might conceivable be a hoot. In this incarnation, she's not. I believe that "Next Caller" is undergoing an overhaul before it premieres. I think there's potential in Wolfe and Tambor and Osmanski. I think there's an approach to Cook wherein he's not an active detriment. Hopefully the retooling will find the right balance.
Desire To Watch Again: If they're actually doing a top-to-bottom fix on this pilot, my desire to see another episode or two is reasonable. If they're only fixing it piecemeal, I can't imagine an upside that goes beyond, "Not as bad as you're expecting." In that case, maybe I'll only watch the Wolfe scenes and then move on.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Following'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Family Tools'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Infamous'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'How To Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's '1600 Penn'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Zero Hour'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Do No Harm'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'The Carrie Diaries'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Malibu Country'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'The New Normal'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Guys with Kids'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Mindy Project'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Partners'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Nashville'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Made in Jersey'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Emily Owens, M.D.'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Mob Doctor'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Animal Practice'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Last Resort'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Vegas'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty & The Beast'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

 

 

<p>Your four &quot;X Factor&quot; judges</p>

Your four "X Factor" judges

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Thursday Premiere - Auditions #2

Who will make Britney and Demi cry tonight?

I thought the first night of the revamped "X Factor," featuring a slack-jawed Britney Spears and Demi Lovato's One Glistening Tear, was pretty good.

America, however, decided it'd be better to watch a third consecutive night of "The Voice."

But on a "Voice"-free Thursday, perhaps "X Factor" will get a big audience bounce?

Or else I'll just keep live-blogging into a vacuum. 

Click through for all of the fun...

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Watch: 'Glee' stars Jacob Artist and Melissa Benoist introduce their new characters

Watch: 'Glee' stars Jacob Artist and Melissa Benoist introduce their new characters

Who are Jake and Marley other than halves of a "Christmas Carol" character?
When last we left McKinley High School, it was Graduation Day and Ryan Murphy was sending a good chunk of his "Glee" cast packing, whether to "New York City" for regular ongoing adventures or off into the ether for periodic guest appearances.
 
But just because Finn and Puck and Quinn and Santana aren't necessarily going to be around full-time [nobody actually knows for sure] doesn't mean that "Glee" is going to become an intimidate chamber drama. No. Get ready to meet a slew of fresh characters, both in Lima and in the Rachel Berry-centric Big Apple scenes.
 
Earlier this week, I sat down with a few of the "Glee" new kids to talk about joining the musical-dramedy, which launches its fourth season on Thursday (September 13) night.
 
Up first? Jacob Artist and Melissa Benoist
 
It's theoretically possible that you might know Artist from "How To Rock," "Melissa & Joey" or the recent "Blue Lagoon: The Awakening," but chances are good that "Glee" will be the first time you've seen him. He plays Jake Puckerman and it takes very little time to realize that the Puckerman apple doesn't fall far from the Puckerman tree.
 
Benoist also has a small roster of guest roles, including episodes of "Homeland" and "The Good Wife," but she'll be making her first big splash as Marley, a gal with a gorgeous voice and a funny hat.
 
I chatted with Artist and Benoist about their characters, about hazing on the "Glee" set and about the strongly insinuated possibility that Jake and Marley -- Ryan Murphy's been reading his Charles Dickens -- are heading for a romantic collision.
 
Check out the video... And stay tuned for my interviews with Becca Tobin and Dean Geyer next week after you've met Kitty and Brody.
Watch: Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid explain how 'X Factor' Season 2 is different

Watch: Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid explain how 'X Factor' Season 2 is different

What the heck is Demi Lovato's "secret weapon"?
If you watched Wednesday (September 12) night's premiere, you're already away of the new look for "The X Factor."
 
You've seen the hostless backstage audition footage and the montages celebrating the surprisingly critical Britney Spears.
 
But few would question that Demi Lovato was the star of Wednesday's two-hour episode, particularly her sensitive treatment of bullied teen Jillian Jensen, an extended moment that produced tears aplenty. 
 
On Monday, I sat down with Lovato and returning judge L.A. Reid to discuss second season changes and the fresh feel to "X Factor."
 
Check out the interview (as well as my chat with Simon Cowell) and remember that "X Factor" is back on Wednesday night.
<p>Quantrele Da'an Smith of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Quantrele Da'an Smith of "The X Factor"

Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 2 Premiere

Demi Lovato and Britney Spears make their judging debuts

On one hand, I suppose Wednesday (September 12) night represents the second season premiere of "The X Factor," but you can almost sense FOX hoping that viewers totally ignore last fall's introduction to Melanie Amaro and all of her vanquished foes. Sure, that was "The X Factor," but this is *really* "The X Factor," the way Simon Cowell intended.

So pull up a seat and follow along as we spend the next two hours seeing how Demi Lovato and Britney Spears stack up as judges and how "The X Factor" functions without a host.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 148

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 148

Dan and Alan talk 'Revolution,' 'Glee,' 'Mob Doctor,' 'Guys with Kids' and more

The

 
Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls!
 
After the promised early-week delayed, it's time for a review-packed installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
In this episode, we preview NBC's "Revolution" and "Guys with Kids," as well as FOX's "Mob Doctor." We also review new seasons of "Glee" and "Boardwalk Empire." And we answered a piece of mail, just for kicks.
 
Next week, we'll be delayed for Rosh Hashanah, but expect plenty more reviews and whatnot as things start to get REALLY busy!
 
Here's the breakdown:
Second episodes of "Go On" and "New Normal" (00:01:10 - 00:02:45)
"Guys With Kids" (00:02:50 - 00:11:30)
"Glee" (00:11:30 - 00:22:35)
"Boardwalk Empire" (00:22:35 - 00:35:40)
"The Mob Doctor" (00:35:40 - 00:45:25)
"Revolution" (00:45:30 - 00:56:50)
Listener Mail - Worst Characters, Best Shows (00:57:40 - 01:13:20)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.